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A GIFTED young musician preparing to take three Grade 8 exams before summer and a talented Young Sinfonia horn player balance their GCSE schoolwork with hours of weekly training at the prestigious Glasshouse Centre for Advanced Training (CAT).

Flautist Isabel Sheen, 14, from Durham, and French Horn player Rosalind Cockling, 15, from Wheatley Hill, spend their Sundays at the high-level music training programme at the Glasshouse International Centre for Music.

Both teenagers are Year 10 music scholars at independent all-girls school, Durham High School, where they are heavily involved with music alongside their studies towards their GCSE exams next year.

Isabel, who was a chorister at Durham Cathedral for three years and was awarded a 13+ music scholarship to join Durham High School last year, is preparing to take Grade 8 exams in flute and singing in March, as well as Grade 8 piano in the summer term, through the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

She plays the flute in the school’s Senior Orchestra and Chamber Music Ensemble, while also being an active member of the Junior Consort at Durham Cathedral. “I like the flute because it is so beautiful in tone and appearance,” said Isabel, who has played the instrument since she was seven years old. “I definitely want to continue to play it when I’m older.”

Rosalind, who is preparing to take a Grade 7 French Horn exam in March, is in her second year on the CAT programme and is a member of the Young Sinfonia, a high-quality youth orchestra linked to Gateshead’s Royal Northern Sinfonia.

The teen, who was awarded a music scholarship when she joined the Durham High School in Year 7, also plays in the Houghton Area Youth Band and is a member of the school’s Senior Orchestra and Senior Choir.

Rosalind said: “I come from a family of brass musicians – my mum plays trombone and euphonium, while my younger brother Alex plays Trumpet as well as the guitar. It can sometimes be a struggle to fit all of our instruments into the car!”

Clare Lawrence-Wills, Durham High School’s Director of Music, said both Isabel and Rosalind are dedicated and inspirational members of the school’s thriving music department.

“The girls’ talents and commitment make them standout performers and have earned them well-deserved places on the CAT programme,” said Miss Lawrence-Wills. “Their passion and skills help contribute to the vibrant and dynamic musical culture that the school is known for, while their dedication and achievements reflect the high standards upheld by Durham High in nurturing young talent and fostering a love for the arts.

“We are immensely proud of both Isabel and Rosalind and look forward to supporting the continued growth of these two talented young musicians.”